Why Shigeya Hosokawa of Chunichi, who was ready to be fired, was able to blossom | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Why Shigeya Hosokawa of Chunichi, who was ready to be fired, was able to blossom

Miracle" to make the All-Star team, in his 7th year of professional baseball, "the man who was ready to be fired" blossomed in the active draft to become the "young mainstay of the Dragon".

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Two hits from Cy Young Award winning pitcher Bauer (32) against DeNA on May 27. Bauer named Hosokawa the “most amazing Japanese hitter” on a YouTube channel.

More dramatic than drama.

His batting average over the past six years is .201, and he had just one hit in the first round last season. By June, he had already hit 10 homers. He has become the long-awaited cannon for Chunichi, which has been struggling with poor hitting, and was selected as an All-Star only seven months after being drafted in the current draft, advancing to the finals of the homerun competition.

I never thought I would be able to play in the All-Star game, which I had watched on TV all my life,” he said. (I’m happy to be able to play with the regulars from DeNA (my old team). But in my mind, it’s still not enough. Right now, I’m just desperate to get results every day.”

Hosokawa hit 63 home runs in high school, earning him the nickname “Sho Nakata of Ibaraki,” and was drafted fifth overall by DeNA in 2004. At the end of his rookie year, he was promoted to the first team and hit home runs in two consecutive games from his debut game. He became the first high school graduate in history to accomplish this feat.

However, he thought he was going to blossom into a big star, but after his second year, he failed to make a splash. He could only play on the farm, and was even ridiculed as the “king of the second team.

I thought about baseball every day, wondering how I could get results in the first team, and before I knew it, six years had passed. Last year, I was prepared to be fired.

Behind the blossoming of his career was the presence of his mentor. Seiho Kanazawa, 56, coach of Meishu Hitachi High School, a powerhouse team in Ibaraki, where Hosokawa attended school, was a famous coach who trained many professional players including Hayato Sakamoto, 34, an infielder for the Giants. Kanazawa, on the other hand, said that he did not know Hosokawa’s name until about two months after he entered the school. When he went to the restroom during a game, Hosokawa was swinging his bat hard beside him.

He had a tremendous swing. I thought to myself, “I have to nurture him,” and began to watch him closely. But I couldn’t get the ball to hit the bat very well.

In his sophomore year, Hosokawa finally emerged and began to attract attention as a power hitter. Thanks to Hosokawa’s success, the team reached the finals of the Ibaraki Tournament in the summer of his junior year, the first time since the founding of the club.

After turning pro, Hosokawa continued to visit coach Kanazawa every year, but his words were harsh, and there was a year when he was dismissed as “still a pro.

He was a very good player, but he worked too hard and didn’t know how to “pull it out”. After joining the pro ranks, his timing was poor and the quality of his hitting was not good, so I felt that it would be difficult for him to continue to be active in the first team.

An unlikely connection with hitting coach Kazuhiro Wada

As Kanazawa watched Hosokawa’s sluggish performance, he thought of Kazuhiro Wada, 51, the current hitting coach of Chunichi, who was his junior at university. Coach Wada was a right-handed hitter who emphasized the importance of timing, and he thought his coaching methods would suit Hosokawa. So he asked Coach Wada (then a baseball critic) to consult with Hosokawa if he ever met with him, and he told Hosokawa that he would do so.

Although he had not had an opportunity to meet with Hosokawa at length over the past six years, the coach’s wish led to a fateful encounter. Last fall, Chunichi announced the appointment of Wada as hitting coach. About two months later, Hosokawa decided to join Chunichi.

It turned out to be a good encounter,” Hosokawa said. By practicing with Mr. Wada, I was able to change my batting in so many ways. It was my last chance, so the biggest thing for me was to make up my mind that I would follow Mr. Wada.

He reviewed the way he used his body, and even during the spring camp, which started in the morning, he practiced hard until 8:00 p.m. on late days. He began to gradually improve his timing, which had been an issue.

If I can continue to play this year and produce results, I will be able to repay everyone who has been so kind to me.

It was only recently that Hosokawa’s Chunichi Dragons replica uniforms began to be sold in stores. Hosokawa has grown faster than the team had expected. He will continue to accumulate miracles and become a rising dragon.

Thick arms that generate power. When he was in junior high school, he took on the javelin throw (a throwing event that leads to the javelin throw) and recorded a throw of over 77 meters.
Shigeya Hosokawa of the Chunichi baseball team, who was prepared to be fired from his job.
Shigeya Hosokawa of Chunichi Prepared to be Fired: “Fate Changed Me, and I’m Going to Return the Favor” (Unpublished photo)
Shigeya Hosokawa of Chunichi, who prepared to be fired from his job.

From the July 28, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • Interview and text Noriko Shiozaki Photo by Shigeki Sato Shigeki Sato

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